So what is Growth Mindset and why are schools giving it so much importance right now? And why should you, as parents, carers or mentors give it importance? Over 30 years ago Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students’ attitudes to failure. They found that some student rebounded to failure while others were completely devastated by the setbacks. After carrying out several studies of thousands of children, Dr Dweck introduced the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the beliefs that people have about learning and intelligence.
Fixed Term = This is when you believe that you unable to change your intelligence and abilities. For example, “I’m not a maths person” indicates a lack of change in the mindset because it shows conceding defeat.
Growth Mindset = This is where you believe that if you work hard, it is possible to grow your intelligence and become smarter. For example, “maths was hard at first, but I studied hard and I understood it” indicates a growth mindset because it shows a willingness to learn and better yourself.
So as the responsible adults of these developing children, what can we do to help them to adopt more of a growth mindset?
1. Be mindful of the messages that you send with your words and action, instead of saying “I’m not very good at maths so I won’t be able to help you as much with that” say “I’m still improving on my maths but we can improve on it together”
2. Praise your children when for working hard to accomplish something, even if the results are not the highest. This tells them you value hard work and that hard work may not always get the highest results quickly.
3. Show your child how to learn from setbacks. It is important for kids to see to see mistakes as a natural part of the learning process this will help your child take risks and help them invest themselves in challenging work.
Research shows parents, mentors and guardians can have a powerful impact on the growth mindset. Remember that this is a learning curve and it will take time for you and your child to develop the growth mindset but over time you will improve from turning your fixed mindsets into growth mindsets.